Pro-Ouattara forces lay siege to Gbagbo’s palace

Ivory Coast leader faces final hours as president

Forces loyal to Ivory Coast opposition leader Alassane Ouattara launched a final assault on the presidential residence of Laurent Gbagbo in Abidjan on Wednesday. Gbagbo had been in the midst of negotiating the terms of his departure with the UN, but France’s Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the talks had collapsed due to Gbagbo’s “intransigence.” Gbagbo is believed to be taking shelter with his family in a bunker underneath the residence, which is being protected by his troops. Pro-Ouattara fighters have been given strict instructions not to harm Mr. Gbagbo, who still enjoys broad support in the country, in order to prevent further destabilization. On Monday, Pro-Ouattara fighters, backed by UN and French helicopters, attacked Gbagbo’s military installations in Abidjan. Gbagbo has refused to relinquish power after the November 2010 election, which saw Ouattara win the popular vote.

BBC News

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